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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania* and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank you for convening this thematic discussion on agenda item 2 and our panellists from France, the Netherlands, Morocco and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) for their insightful presentations.
The EU agrees with the importance of keeping the prohibition of the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices high on the agenda of the Conference on Disarmament (CD). We reiterate that our longstanding priority in the CD is to immediately commence negotiations of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices (FMCT) and we support starting such negotiations in accordance with the document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein.
We welcome the unanimous reaffirmation of this aim by the High Level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group, chaired by Ambassador Heidi Hulan from Canada, which once again demonstrated that FMCT negotiations are long overdue. Further to the work carried out by the Group of Governmental Experts on FMCT, the High Level Expert Preparatory Group made substantial progress on possible definitions, scope, verification, and legal and institutional arrangements with a view to elaborating elements for a future Treaty.
We invite all States to give due consideration to the Preparatory Group’s report and encourage dedicated CD discussions on FMCT building on the work conducted in the Subsidiary Body 2 in 2018 and the Way Ahead Working Group in 2017. We recall that two issues in particular were recommended for further expert work: a) elaborate how the various approaches to verification would work in practice, and b) assess the resource implications associated with the potential Treaty elements.
We welcome the commitment of all P5 countries to pursue FMCT related technical discussions in the CD and hope this will help to sustain the momentum. We invite all UN Member States to demonstrate their strong support for the early start and conclusions of negotiations on a FMCT in the Conference on Disarmament during the upcoming UN General Assembly First Committee session and all NPT States Parties to reaffirm the urgency of FMCT negotiations at the 2020 Review Conference.
In the meantime, we continue to call on those nuclear weapon States who have not yet done so and all other States possessing nuclear weapons to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on their production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. This would be an important step facilitating the commencement of FMCT negotiations and building confidence, ultimately enhancing global and regional security.
On its part, the EU continues to provide financial support to the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) to facilitate the participation of African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean countries in FMCT related consultations and other activities.
Thank you, Mr. President
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.